Here is a screenshot of filters that may be applied to a list of orders. I am interested in sorting them by date, address, etc. However, the (A-Z) and (Z-A) labels are not suitable for data types such as date. Could you please suggest an alternative to the (A-Z) and (Z-A) strings? I am considering using an up-arrow and down-arrow instead, but I was hoping for a more elegant solution.

Thank you in advance for your help.

enter image description here

  • How is an up or down arrow an inelegant solution?
    – JohnGB
    May 12, 2014 at 11:00
  • If you are going to spell it out, you might as well give relevant examples between the brackets. IE Start Date (recent - older) May 12, 2014 at 12:24
  • Just curious, what does it mean to sort addresses? By street name? City? Zip code? May 13, 2014 at 8:24

5 Answers 5


I don't know exactly how the workflow looks here (e.g. what happens next) but I assume you don't have an "apply"-button used for the sorting to take effect.

Never the less, this can be seen as a 2-dimensional sorting and the least elegant thing about this could be the duplicate sorting parameters (e.g. NAME (A-Z) NAME (Z-A)).

If you have a clear picture of how this feature will be used you might be able to create sensible defaults; if one of the directions is by far more commonly used than the other it could just default to that, and then you can let the user go back to the sorting settings and change direction if needed.

Then your list could look something like:

enter image description here

You can update the direction names depending on which main attribute is selected so that all of them will make sense to the user. It will also scale a lot better if you want to add additional sorting attributes. The drawback is that the user would have to revisit this sorting menu to change the direction if needed.

  • Start Date (New-Old)
  • Start Date (Old-New)
  • Address (Asc.)
  • Address (Desc.)
  • Name (A-Z)
  • Name (Z-A)
  • Order No. (Low-Hi)
  • Order No. (Hi-Low)

That said, an up and down arrow scheme could work just fine.


If you prefer to view time as a linear flow of events, perhaps an arrow like --> could indicate a chronological order and an arrow like <-- could indicate the opposite?


Your first problem is that you have way to many options for the user to choose from, 2 of each subject makes for a poor and confusing user experience. That being said there is a very easy fix which is to create an almost filter option for the user so that they can choose how they view the information. Here is a demonstration I created to show how it could be more functional and easier for the user. Demo Site. enter image description here By having the filter options at the top they immediately understand what is going on more quickly and then can decide what they want to view after updating the filters. This will provide a more clean and refined feel to the application. You can than edit these filters to reflect whatever you want and dynamically update on the fly. Just an idea, hope this helps.


I just thought about something like this:


I.e. some kind of two-sided slide control with options at the ends.

Regarding symbols. It seems like in your case not all of the options will be clear if you will use some kind of triangles or arrows, so I think that you may use different hints for every value.

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